I have had numerous booking inquiries over the last month that are not converting to bookings.
Some are trying to avoid going through Airbnb to get a better deal. We advise that this is never allowed. Others ask for longer-term stays for which we have no interest.
Other inquiries pose legitimate questions that I endeavour to answer promptly and in some detail. I also refer the legitimate guests to our house rules to ensure they understand our expectations. If their profile is incomplete, we advise that information be complete before a booking is accepted. In most cases, I do not hear back from the inquiring guest.
Our overall bookings and occupancy rate is better than average, so I am not concerned but wonder how to improve the conversion rate?
I think the way you are handling these inquiries is fine, although I wouldn’t get into House Rules and expectations so early in the exchange.
Like you, I have also spent a considerable amount of time answering inquiries that don’t always result in bookings. But my philosophy, in hosting and in life in general, is that “what goes around, comes around”. Being helpful can’t hurt, and it can reap positive results, sometimes in delightfully surprising ways.
@Pat271 What a beautiful philosophy. I think you are right on the house rules and expectations sent too early. I think I was getting negative on booking inquiries in general.
Nothing like getting two bookings recently, though to change my mood to a more positive focus, so let the inquiries start coming in again...
@Larry339 "Our overall bookings and occupancy rate is better than average, so I am not concerned but wonder how to improve the conversion rate?"
You can't. Inquiries are just that, people asking questions. They may have sent the same or similar inquiries to 10 other hosts. Just be grateful that they didn't ask the questions in a Booking Request, forcing you to either accept or decline within 24 hours.
@Sarah977 Excellent perspective. I will now reprogram from seeing a 'booking inquiry' and convert it to 'people asking questions.' Thanks, and you are right. An inquiry is so much easier to handle than a booking request that does not quite fit the criteria.
I have had at least 6 inquiries for long term stays at our holiday house in Cape Town, South Africa. The guests send a detailed message about themselves, why they are wanting a long term stay, where they are from, they personalize the message with some complimentary details about my listing. I then take time and effort to reply in detail as well as send them a ridiculously good offer. I don't hear so much as a thank you we have found something else in return. I am starting to lower my expectations about each inquiry. People are looking around for the best deal and they have a lot to pick from as hosts are desperate to cover costs.
@Tamsin4 While I am dismayed by what seems to be a lack of basic manners these days, in that a guest can't be bothered to spend 30 seconds thanking a host for their reply, and this business of sending out inquiries to tons of places, angling for the best deal, is disrespectful of hosts' time, it helps to think of it as just part of the job of hosting.
How many people go into stores and are attended to by a salesperson, only to walk out without buying anything?
The difference is that the salesperson is getting a salary to attend to customers whether the buy anything or not, although some in some businesses the salesperson might also earn a bit of an additional commission on the sales they make.
So we just have to charge enough so that the directly unpaid time of answering inquiries that don't turn into bookings doesn't feel like an imposition.
And maybe create some generic saved responses that can be personalized as necessary, rather than taking a lot of time to answer each message in detail.
Hi Sarah, agreed and I am more than happy to answer enquiries but I have noticed that before Covid I had less inquiries but they all converted to actual bookings. I guess its a matter of waiting for travel to become safer:-)